Quantizing Audio..?

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Voda La Void
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2017/08/14 21:10:03 (permalink)

Quantizing Audio..?

When I recorded electronic drums I could quantize them easily, since it was MIDI notes.  Now that I'm recording a live acoustic set, I'm wondering about quantizing as audio.  I really don't want to use drum audio tracks to trigger MIDI notes or samples or any of that.  How does this work, in practice?  
 
Sorry, I searched the forum but I didn't get any results back for quantizing audio.  

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    bitflipper
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    Re: Quantizing Audio..? 2017/08/14 22:22:44 (permalink)
    My experience with quantized drum audio has been mixed. If it's only the kick or only the snare, and they're each on their own track, then I've had a 100% success rate using AudioSnap.
     
    However, I wasn't really quantizing so much as correcting a few awkward hits here and there. I wouldn't bother quantizing every hit, because that never works. Not every timing variance a drummer makes is a mistake. You won't improve things by correcting things that don't need correction.
     
    And I'd also avoid trying it on a full drum mix if I had a choice.
     
    But assuming you really want to brute-force quantize everything, AudioSnap is your friend. It used to be a bit tricky, but isn't anymore. Use the edit filter (dropdown list in the track view track header) to select Transients. That will highlight every drum hit in the selected clip(s). Right-click and select Audiosnap Palette from the context menu, and click on the Quantize button. A dialog will open up with the quantize options. If the options you choose don't work well, hit CTL-Z and try again.
     
    In any case, I'd recommend first cloning your pre-edited drum tracks as an emergency backup.


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    Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
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    Re: Quantizing Audio..? 2017/08/14 22:29:08 (permalink)
    Voda La Void
    How does this work, in practice?  


    The short answer is that it doesn't if you're after serious results.

    There are software options like audio snap but if you work it on a multi mic'd drum kit it becomes a major time killer and frustration, even if just try to fix some sections of a song.

    My 50ct: record the best possible performance. Record several takes to a click track so that comping only is enough to swap poor sections for good ones. That's nice and quick and keeps the tracks alive. If you need to edit more than that, get the drummer behind the kit and redo the tracking. It'll be worth it.

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    batsbrew
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    Re: Quantizing Audio..? 2017/08/14 22:40:21 (permalink)
    i just hate anything quantized.
    in fact, when i program midi drums,
    i purposefully move beats slightly in front of and behind the beat,
    because the human groove is way cooler than the machine groove.
     
     

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    Rob[at]Sound-Rehab
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    Re: Quantizing Audio..? 2017/08/15 07:07:40 (permalink)
    batsbrew
    i just hate anything quantized.
    in fact, when i program midi drums,
    i purposefully move beats slightly in front of and behind the beat,
    because the human groove is way cooler than the machine groove.
     
     


    Very true... once you understood what playing before/after the beat does to groove and feel, you realise why quantized stuff feels so strange (at least in music that is intended to sound natural)

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    Voda La Void
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    Re: Quantizing Audio..? 2017/08/15 13:00:02 (permalink)
    bitflipper
    My experience with quantized drum audio has been mixed. If it's only the kick or only the snare, and they're each on their own track, then I've had a 100% success rate using AudioSnap.
     
    However, I wasn't really quantizing so much as correcting a few awkward hits here and there. I wouldn't bother quantizing every hit, because that never works. Not every timing variance a drummer makes is a mistake. You won't improve things by correcting things that don't need correction.




    I've had very little success in even slightly moving a hit here or there.  8 tracks of drum audio means plenty of mic bleed and presents a nightmare moving any little thing.  
     
    Rob[atSound-Rehab]
    Voda La Void
    How does this work, in practice?  


    The short answer is that it doesn't if you're after serious results.




    And, mostly I am.  
     
    batsbrew
    i just hate anything quantized.
    in fact, when i program midi drums,
    i purposefully move beats slightly in front of and behind the beat,
    because the human groove is way cooler than the machine groove. 




    Yeah, that's how I programmed drums, too.  In fact, I'd play them on my lap so I could make note of velocity differences between hits on a given fill.  Still doesn't quite sound like a human, to me.  And now that more percussion performances are being used to trigger samples, it still sounds fake to my ears.  Something is lost when choosing a pre-recorded sample over the actual drum hit.  
     
    Quantizing, for me, comes in to play when doing metal.  I don't need it for rock or anything, although I still think I have a kind of gallop to my hi hat playing sometimes which irritates the hell out of me.  But double bass is a weakness still, in terms of fluidity, and I hate to be sentenced to drum practice for 2 years before I can record my metal tunes.  I'm getting old...I need to get this done.  And a friend was saying that quantizing was all the rage with my favorite metal drummers (like Matt Garstka).  So I wondered...
     
    Not sure what I'll do, but it doesn't sound like quantizing audio is going to work out for me.  Thanks fellas!  

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    bitflipper
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    Re: Quantizing Audio..? 2017/08/16 03:17:01 (permalink)
    It wouldn't surprise me at all to find that quantizing drums was a thing in the metal world. In an awful lot of the me-too formulaic metal music, the drummer's feet sound like a machine gun.
     
    Ironically, we go out of our way to avoid that with programmed MIDI drums, while live performances seem to be trying to get as close to sounding like a drum machine as possible.


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    Voda La Void
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    Re: Quantizing Audio..? 2017/08/16 12:32:15 (permalink)
    bitflipper
    It wouldn't surprise me at all to find that quantizing drums was a thing in the metal world. In an awful lot of the me-too formulaic metal music, the drummer's feet sound like a machine gun.
     
    Ironically, we go out of our way to avoid that with programmed MIDI drums, while live performances seem to be trying to get as close to sounding like a drum machine as possible.




    And isn't that weird?  That's why I have a hard time listening to any death metal at all, the drummers seem to be obsessed with double bass to the point of absurdity.  To me, it's like the hammer and the ballad.  You need the ballad to balance the hammer, and vice versa.  Using double bass like a brain tick ruins the power and intensity it can convey when used more judiciously.  And, no kidding, sounds like a drum machine and that's *not* a compliment.  
     
    That's why I really like drummers like Matt Garstka, Danny Carrey and etc..tasteful percussion for more thoughtful metal pieces.  I would be surprised if Matt or Danny actually needed any of their tracks quantized, but I suppose it's possible...

    Voda La Void...experiments in disturbing frequencies...
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